Interview with Bassist and Vocalist Paul Del Bello of Dobermann

By Mick Michaels

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Paul! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.
Paul Del Bello: What's up Mick!? My pleasure. Thank you for having us.

CV: Given so many major changes over the last decade, do you believe the music industry is a practicable and secure enough environment for new artists to even consider making it a valid career choice? Can a level of sustainable success really be achieved in your opinion?
Paul Del Bello: It depends on what a valid career is to you. When you sign up for being a musician, you're normally in for the music and the fun, not for a secure career. The music industry was never a secure environment. It can all go bust anytime. Look at KISS or Motorhead. They had their biggest albums and the next thing you know they're on the verge of collapse and it takes them a decade to get back on track.

Some people would say nowadays it's much harder to 'make it' but if you think about it, it's in fact much easier to get to your fans, or potential fans. You need no label or record manager to get to their ears. For some music genres you don't even need a recording studio. You can put together your song in your bedroom and shoot a competitive video with a few hundred bucks. So you don't need much to start…an internet connection and some good ideas. But one thing that hasn't changed is that being a musician is a lot of fun too. It's not just a career choice, it's a life choice, and no, it's all but secure, but yes, it's a valid one. I recommend it!


CV: What do you see as the biggest change in the music industry since you first started out?
Paul Del Bello: When I started out in 2000 or so, there were no social media (platforms), so it was hard to get shows outside your area. It took a lot of time and effort. You had to ship out CDs and DVDs. Then MySpace came along and it changed the game. All of a sudden you could get in touch with venues and promoters and arrange a European tour from your living room without a booking agent. And so we did..1500 shows. Youtube wasn't around yet, so people went to gigs without knowing what to expect. It was word of mouth. It was a good time to tour. Then smartphones came around. Now it's much easier to get your music 'out' but on the downside, it's all clicks and views and comments and expensive records listened through the mono speaker of a cell phone, where all you hear are the vocals. It used to be about who kicked the most ass live, now it's about who gets the most views on the first week. And the pandemic might push all this even more into that direction. But it is the way it is, so we'd better embrace it and roll up our sleeves.


CV: Currently Spotify is experiencing 60K plus new uploads daily. How do you see Dobermann’s music separating itself from its peers and avoiding just being another cog in the wheel? 
Paul Del Bello: We really put a lot of effort in keeping this real. On this record we didn't use any triggers or drums quantizing for example. Not many guitar overdubs either. Most of new 'hard rock' bands tend to sound all the same. Everybody has a wall of massive guitar riffs, 4 on the floor drums with a huge sounding fake as hell snare drum, and a high pitched singer singing about partying and girls. There's nothing wrong with that, and it worked for over 30 years, but we tried to change the formula a little bit. There are some amazing musicians out there, but man, I can't tell bands apart, one another. Everyone is in 3 or 4 bands, that each play 5 shows a year.  We try to keep it on the road and play as much as we can…be a gang…do band things.

We try to get new fans and look after the ones we have. There are 7 billion people on the planet, you can't win them all.  You'll always be another cog in the wheel for some people. If you just listen to hip hop , to you Metallica are another cog in the wheel. It's all relative. I don't mind that.


CV: Has digital technology led the way for almost anyone to be a musical artist in your opinion?
Paul Del Bello: Yes, and in a good way. You still need to be good. You still need to have some sort of talent. But today it can be a different combination of talents compared to what it was 20 years ago. Today you can be an OK singer but a very good video maker for example, and you can get something going.  It has opened a whole new world. Anybody who has access to the Internet can give it a go. Deadmau5 admitted he knows almost nothing about music, but he's a very good programmer, he's a technology guy. He's got a very successful career. If you're good at something you're gonna get some kind of recognition, whether you live in L.A. or in Bombay. You might not get a Grammy, but you can get your name out and make some money. There are kids on Youtube who make way more views and money than established rock acts with a record label behind them. It's a fact.  In a way, it's a very democratic thing.

Technology is also making possible it for everybody to create music on their own, without bands or musicians or arrangers. So people obviously take advantage of it, and it's going towards more and more solo artists instead of bands. And that's another reason why it's all going more and more towards rap and pop. They're solo artists, more adaptable.

It did hurt rock music though. Rock is a band thing.  Everything is quantized and there's triggers and perfect pitch. Records are made in home studios all around the world. The drummer records his parts in his living room, and then sends them to the guitar player who lives in another country and that's in 3 other bands. He records his parts home using plugins instead of a Marshall head and then hands ‘em over to the singer. That's the standard. But that's not what Rock and roll is about. And in my opinion it's the main reason why rock music is pretty much dead today. It lost its vibe…its rawness. It completely lost what got me into rock music, for sure. Rock n roll is not about being perfect. It's about not caring about not being perfect.


CV: Has the industry’s many changes, especially over the course of the last 12 months, affected how you write and release music? Has it influenced your songwriting style in any drastic form?
Paul Del Bello: Yes. Nowadays, time is the enemy. People's attention span has drastically decreased, and you need to get something going within the first 30 seconds of your song, or you're toast. For this record, we made a point not to waste any second, we left out any unnecessary parts. Get to the point quickly…vocals straight in, no pre-chorus. The best part is that it wasn’t forced upon us. It kinda came naturally. With time I tend to listen to music more & more from a songwriter/producer point of view.  I'm very happy with that, we did a good job.


CV: Why do think music has been broken down into so many classifications and sub-genres? Is it really necessary? Can this sort of over classification be confusing for not only an artist who is looking to build a brand and find an audience but for the fans as well?
Paul Del Bello: I think the artist shouldn't pay attention to classifications or genres. That is only for fans’ conversations. I think musicians should forget about it. Especially for rock music, it's one of the things that's holding us back. Every band has to have long hair and wear black. We all play nothing but Fender and Gibson and Marshall and Ampeg.  Again, nothing wrong with it, but it would be nice to see something new once in a while. I'd like to see someone throw in a saxophone, a baritone guitar, a violin or a 12 string bass. You never see something like that. It's like we're afraid to leave this 40 year old comfort zone. It keeps going in circles. Greta Van Fleet are supposed to be the next big thing and they're basically Led Zeppelin. Same guitars, same sounds, same setup, same clothes. They're a really good band, but it's almost a nostalgia act. At Glastonbury 2019 the headline act, Stormzy, was 26 years old. If you watch the bills of rock festivals, headliners are in their 60s or 70s. There's something wrong. Classic rock needs to stop being classic if it wants to make it out alive.


CV: How would you define Dobermann’s sound and style? Is a music classification or genre specific tagging something the band even considers when writing songs?  
Paul Del Bello: I'd say we're a rock & roll band…and a power trio, which is an animal of its own. It's guitar, bass and drums. Basic. It has limitations, but that's what breeds creativity. They force you to be good. I have to kick ass at singing AND at playing bass. And I can't really do simple stuff all the time, because there's no rhythm guitar, so I have to keep things interesting. But you know, we like to change things. We added a lot of fresh elements in this record. We draw from the classics, of course, AC DC, RATT, and VELVET REVOLVER and so on. But especially with this album we really wanted to give people a different take. We threw in some blues and funk elements, trying to use a modern songwriting format. That is key if you wanna be competitive.


CV: Many people have asked, “Where have all the modern day rock stars gone?” Do you agree with such a sentiment and who would you consider to be a modern day “rock star?”
Paul Del Bello: We have modern rockstars. But they don't play rock music. Hip hop and pop are kings. You need to capture the imagination of the kids to be king, and Rock music doesn't seem to be able to do it nowadays. I'm ok with that. Rock had its time. It's been resting on its laurels. It's still alive of course, but it's suffering. But for an artist, suffering is a good thing, as we might come up with something decent out of it. Rock will rise again, though it might not be soon. It's flat on its ass, which might be a good starting point.


CV: Does music need to have a message to convey to the world for it to be worth listening to in your opinion? Does Dobermann’s music have a message?
Paul Del Bello: We want to have a good time. Make good music, playing it for good people, travel the world. Laugh. Sometimes the lyrics are serious, but there's no special message. Though the world needs bands like RATM or Public Enemy, we're not into politics. We try to make people forget about that shit and about what they have to go through daily. People have hard lives. We follow our passion, we live our dream. We are very lucky. We'd better kick ass and give something back. And keep rock and roll alive in these troubled times. Make people happy. Give them hope.


CV: What's next for Dobermann? What can fans expect to see coming?
Paul Del Bello: June 11th we're coming out with a new record called 'Shaken to the Core'. It's a good record. Our new single 'Staring at the Black Road' is already out. We have another one in the pipeline. We worked really hard on this album…make sure you check them out! Also, we're planning to go back on the road as soon as possible. We miss being on stage and we miss playing live.

CV: Thank you again
Paul for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. It was a pleasure. I wish you all the best and continued success.
Paul Del Bello: Thanks man it's been a pleasure. See you guys on the road as soon as this mess is over.

'Staring At the Black Road' video:

Preorder the new album 'Shaken to the Core':

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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